There was a good year where I listened to the same album every night as I drifted off to sleep.
I didn’t get tired of it. I loved knowing what to expect. I knew the order of the songs, the way things started and the way the music progressed.
I loved having something familiar there for me night after night before sleep. It was my way of being there for myself again and again.
The lyrics had meaning, sure. I felt their melodies more than the words though, deep to my core.
I didn’t know what a highly sensitive person (HSP) meant at the time. I just knew that I went through life feeling things very intensely. I loved to know what to expect. I loved familiarity (as I was in a strange place, away at college).
And listening to the same album every night was my normal. It felt perfectly natural to me.
It was when I shared it with others that I got a “Huh?” kind of response. I don’t know why, but I thought they would be able to relate, as if they were doing it, too. It just felt so natural to me that I assumed it did for everyone else.
For HSPs, having daily rituals in their lives can help them feel at one with their world, instead of just being overwhelmed by it most of the time.
Having that album play each night before sleep was my start to embracing rituals in my life.
Rituals can have a profound impact on us HSP’s: they calm and ground us, soothe the spirit, slow us down, remind us to live in the present moment, nourish our soul and remind us that we are responsible for our own well-being.
Think about what we love to do: What soothes our soul? What comforts us and brings us to life at the same time?
Rituals have a calming effect on our nervous system because it gives us something to look forward to, that is at once both freeing and grounding. It brings us out of our heads (anyone else live there almost 24/7?) and back into our bodies. It gives us a break from the overthinking mind and lets us rest right here, right now.
Doing rituals on a regular basis (daily if possible) is ideal because it lets us know calm is on the calendar. If we haven’t realized this yet, self-care is of utmost important to HSPs.
So what is an example of a ritual?
We don’t need to listen to the same music every night to be adding in rituals into your life, promise! Spend some time thinking about what grounds us. Because HSPs can live in their heads so much of the time, we need to ask ourselves what brings us back to earth. What grounds us?
Some examples include:
1. Drinking a hot cup of tea each morning while reading a book
2. Walking your dog through your favorite park
3. Listening to music you love while taking a dance break (my personal favorite!)
4. Tuning into yourself through meditation
5. Stretching your body and breathing
6. Writing in a journal
7. Asking yourself what you are grateful for
Perhaps it’s even a combination of these examples, or something completely different?
If we’re having a hard time figuring out what ritual might work for us, think about what grounds us and brings more balance into our life.
Jot some ideas down and get a good list going that we can refer back to. Try something out for a few days or a week and see how we feel.
At first, it may seem like a lot to ask.
It’s important to remember that HSPs tend to not like structure, unless it is of their own creation. Adding in a daily ritual is doing just that—taking power back into our own hands and creating balance in our life in the process, one ritual at a time.
Bringing in a daily ritual is a way for HSPs to work with their unique trait, not against it.
We need more downtime than the average person, and setting time aside each day for a meaningful ritual is our time to reconnect with ourself.
What comes to mind when we think of a daily ritual? Do we already do something every day that we would consider a ritual?
Leave a comment below and let’s share ideas and support each other.
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Assistant Editor: Laura Ashworth/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photos: courtesy of author